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Child and spousal support when you are on social assistance

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Are there times when I do not have to try to get spousal support?

You may not have to try to get spousal support if after some time, for example 2 years:

  • your spouse has not had contact with you, and
  • they cannot be found.

But if you have any information that could help find them, you must give this to OW or ODSP

There are some other times when you may not have to try to get spousal support. For example:

  • you cannot go to family court for medical reasons
  • your spouse:
    • is violent towards you or your child
    • cannot pay any support right now, for example, because they are in jail
    • is in another country where they cannot be forced to pay support that a court in Ontario ordered them to pay

In situations like these, OW or ODSP should decide that you do not have to try to get spousal support. But they will review their decision, usually in 3 to 12 months. They should tell you when they plan to review it.

Reviews by OW or ODSP

When OW or ODSP do the review, if things are the same, they may decide that you still do not have to try to get spousal support. But, they might give you a date when they will do another review.

OW or ODSP can also decide that they do not need to review your situation. For example, they might do this if:

  • your spouse cannot be found after a reasonably long search
  • there is an ongoing risk of your spouse being violent towards you or your child

OW or ODSP can ask you for proof of your situation. For example, to show that your spouse was violent, you might need to get a police report, or a letter from a doctor or a counsellor.

If you disagree about getting support

If OW or ODSP asks you to try to get spousal support, but you do not think you should have to, contact a community legal clinic. See How can I get legal help?